SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Most South Plainfield High School home wrestling matches are business as usual. The match at hand is the sole subject on the mind of athletes and fans alike. Tuesday night’s dual meet versus the Caldwell Chiefs was anything but.
Adorned in black uniforms and wrestling with the family of fallen, former teammate Sarmad Rizvi in attendance, the Tigers scraped out an emotional 39-21 victory over their game opponents in front of a large but melancholy crowd at the South Plainfield High School Gymnasium.
South Plainfield overcame early holes of 6-0 and 21-12 on the strength of first round pins from Christian Gonzalez at 182 lbs and 126 pounder Ryan Walsh. C.J. Maszcak closed out the match with a pin of his own.
Heavyweight Dakota Pauls, 113 pounder Jake Giordano, Kyle Bythell at 132 lbs and the 145 pound Frank Ferraro all won three-round decisions. Dan Hedden, at 138 pounds, won by forfeit.
Joey Heilmann at 106 pounds nearly turned his match from a loss into a victory but couldn’t secure a pin with approximately 28 seconds left.
All fans in attendance were given a program featuring a statement from South Plainfield Wrestling about Rizvi’s tragic passing and how the team as well as the community will move forward.
“Sarmad will continue to live on in the thoughts and memories of those that he loved and those that loved him. We will never forget the way he made us feel and how he taught us to be better people,” the statement read.
Rizvi, who would have been a senior on this year’s squad, was a part of two state championship teams and had aspirations of studying at Rutgers University.
The Tigers’ (15-5) season continues Wednesday night with a match at Middlesex County rival Edison High School.